Air traffic tapes of Hudson plane crash released (USAir-1549)

Posted on 05. Feb, 2009 by in Featured

The tape speaks for itself. You can hear Captain Sullenberger and the controller step through options: 1) Return to LaGuardia. 2) A different, closer air field. 3) The Hudson River. A couple of things to note; emergencies happen quite often. Engines get shut down for various reasons and pilots respond by selecting the best field for a given situation and then landing on the remaining engine. For example most Captains I fly with brief that if we lose an engine on takeoff we will divert to JFK where the runways are longer; however if we have a fire whichever is the closest field. So your choice may change.

Go easy on the controller; it may sound like he was behind the power curve, but his normal procedures and experience told him they were just diverting on the good engine. If you listen to the entire tape on the CNN site, you will hear a pilot tell the controller, “I think he said he’s going in the Hudson”. Why did he get it and not the controller? Because when Sully transmitted “we have lost all thrust”, it was clear to a pilot that all the engines were out. Pertinent because, if you said I have lost two engines in an Airbus 340, you would still have two more, if you said I have lost my engine in a Cessna 172 you have none. To remove ambiguity Sully transmitted I have lost all thrust. To a pilot clear, apparently not to the controller.

One last thing and this you can’t always teach, even though we try in the military and civilian (I’ve taught both). Big picture, SA (situational Awareness) i. e. where can I land now! Don’t get distracted by insignificant details, like the fact that the controller kept calling him 1529 instead of the correct call sign 1549. Sully knew he was talking to him, he didn’t sweat the little stuff, he had plenty he had to deal with.

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